School Fee Hike, A Topic Of Concern Among Parents
As Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) prepare safety guidelines for the reopening of schools, the question of fee hikes has also been at the top of discussions among parent groups across the country.
As Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) prepare safety guidelines for the reopening of schools, the question of fee hikes has also been at the top of discussions among parent groups across the country. Schools in all states and Union Territories are awaiting a nod from the Centre for reopening and re-commencement of classes following the nationwide lockdown imposed in late March after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision to reopen schools is scheduled to be taken in phase two of the unlock plan in July, based on the feedback from all stakeholders including parents. In the interim, many schools have turned to online classes to keep the academic schedule going.
Fee hikes of school-going students have been at the top of discussions on social media platforms and in parents' groups. Parents in many places have been complaining about schools hiking fees of students.
Several state governments have acted to protect the rights of students and to ensure that school fees are not hiked during this time. The Delhi Government had taken a decision to bar schools from increasing fees during the coronavirus lockdown period. Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, told the media in mid-April that schools will not be allowed to increase fees in view of the COVID-19 situation and the ensuing lockdown.
Manish Sisodia also referred to complaints which were being received by the Delhi government about schools hiking fees and stated that no school would be allowed to charge any amount other than tuition fees during the lockdown period. Delhi's deputy chief minister had also told the media that schools cannot collect fees for three months at one go and have to collect them on a monthly basis. He added that payment of staff salaries was mandatory. Similarly, schools cannot deny access to online classes to students based on fee payment and online teaching should be available to all students of the school in question across the board, he said.
The Telangana government brought out a government order on April 21, stating that schools will not be allowed to hike fees for the academic year 2020-21 in view of the hardship imposed by the nationwide lockdown following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The GO further stated that non-compliance of orders would lead to cancellation of school recognition among other things. The Telangana High Court had also taken cognizance of the matter of regulation of school fees.